NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible across our hospitals to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.
We have already had to review much of our elective (planned) care and have been directly contacting patients affected. The Chief Medical Officer has asked all hospitals in England to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, and some other procedures are likely to be rescheduled as we adapt our resources.
Urgent and emergency care and cancer treatments will carry on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, and we will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.
Many of our outpatient clinics are also being postponed or rearranged as telephone consultations. This will also reduce infection risk for patients and staff from direct contact.